Sunday, June 28, 2009

Walkin' like a drunk

Remember that guy, your freshman year of college? The one who had not yet figured out how much he could drink and still function? Or maybe he had figured it out and chose to ignore that bit of info. He lived in your dorm, or the dorm next to yours, or he was in your 8:00am English Literature class and you felt sorry for him so you walked him home. Remember how he could barely walk, how he bounced from one side of the sidewalk to the other, how his wobbly legs could barely hold him up? He fell down, laughed, and then got up an tried again. He walked a little bit farther, fell again, and laughed. You gave him a hand, pulled him to his feet, steadied him as you made your way down the sidewalk.

Yeah, that's about how Sierra's walking is right now. Barely controlled falling. And sometimes ... just falling. To her credit, though, she's walking more and more often. She gaining control, she's figuring it out. She can bend over, pick something up from the floor and then wobble across the room holding her prize. Crawling is still the primary mode of movement, but the ratio of walking:crawling is increasing. Have fun, little girl.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Vacation revisited: Grotto falls

After a morning hike to Rainbow Falls, we planned to make it a two-waterfall day and meet Jason's family to hike to Grotto falls in the afternoon.

Since we were apparently super fast speed hikers, we finished our Rainbow Falls hike much earlier than we had anticipated, so we had time to head back into Gatlinburg and go to a winery. Yay! It was a great place, not least of all because as we were getting ready to go in and leave the dogs in the shade in the car, a woman came out and said we could bring them in. So we did. Good dogs. We did a wine tasting and came away with three bottles, on of which is still in our wine fridge waiting for the perfect time. Maybe tomorrow afternoon.

We headed back into the park and met Jason's parents and sister. The hike up to the falls was great. And the waterfall was really cool. You can actually walk behind the water. Very cool. Jason and I wandered behind the falls with Sierra but didn't stay long. The water was really loud and baby girl was a little scared. Still a fun experience to walk behind the waterfall.

We had heard a distant rumbling of thunder on our way up the trail, but there was only a 30% chance of rain. Regardless, we didn't linger too long at the falls. We wanted to head down in case it did decide to rain.

I said 30% chance of rain, right? Ha! Oh, my, did it rain. As we started back down the 1.3 mile trail, it started to sprinkle. Then it started to rain a little harder. I pulled out my rain jacket in case I needed it. The rain came harder. I put the raincoat over my shoulders and back and covered up Sierra, who was riding on my back in a carrier. She was none to please to have a rain jacket over her head. So I took it off. But that didn't last long because now the rain was coming even harder. Now, I made Sierra have the rain jacket over her head. I wanted to protect her as much as possible. It was pouring down rain. We were moving down the trail as fast as was safely possible. Sierra was SCREAMING her head off on my back. Rain water was running down the trail. We were hopping puddles and rock and trying to go quickly but not too quickly so we didn't step in the mud. Sierra was still screaming her head off. The rain jacket was open so that I could cover Sierra so my clothes were soaked. We couldn't see well because of how hard the rain was coming down. Finally, we made it to the car.

And the rain stopped.

Times they are a-changin'

Sierra is walking more and more every day. It's wonderful and terrifying and sad.

I'm so happy to see her growing and developing and becoming a little toddler. It's exciting to see the world through her eyes, to explore with her as she finds and discovers new things about her world. I love watching her figure it out, put things together, make those connections.

It's a constant reminder of things to come, though. Sierra is a curious little stinker. She into everything she can get her hands on, and standing up just increases her reach. She is beginning to realized that walking allows her to move forward and carry something at the same time. "This is awesome!!"

It's incredible that her babyhood has already slipped through our fingers. She will never be a squishy newborn again. She won't have that new baby smell and she won't be a tiny little ball of perfect. Now she's a big ball of dirty, active, demanding, curious, intense, opinionated perfect.

Lights out!

Just as we were getting ready to pop in a movie last night, the power went out. Damn! That was about 6:30pm. We remained without electricity until after we went to bed, but luckily, sometime during the night the power (and with it, the A/C, came back on!). This morning, the internet was still down. We're back up and running now, though! Hooray!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Vacation revisited: Rainbow falls

After our weekend in Hot Springs, NC with Liz, Jeff, Ellie and Garrett, we met Jason's parents at a campground outside Gatlinburg, TN on Sunday afternoon.

Monday morning, we headed out for a 5.6 mile roundtrip hike to Rainbow Falls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Rainbow Falls is the highest falls in the park and the hike to see it was really lovely.

We had lunch at the top, and there are these adorable little squirrels that are obviously fed so often by humans that they have no fear. We tied Casey up so that we could have lunch and he about lost his little doggie brain.

"Ohmygodohmygodohmygod ... it's right there! Don't you see it? Just let me go! Just give me one chance!"

Jason thought this rock looked like half a cat face. Can you see it? Face is long from left to right, the ear is in the upper left, with the eye next to it and you can see the fang:
And ... some mosses I saw (for Jessica). Actually, there are mosses in a lot of the photos of this hike. It was a very moss-friendly habitat. But these are specifically of the mosses:

More photos from this hike here.

She baaa-ack

TMI Warning! Read at your own discretion.

After a 22 month "vacation", "Aunt Flo" was back to visit again this morning. Ugh. I certainly haven't missed her.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Super spectacular signs

Of course I think that my baby is a genius, but when we started signing with Sierra at about 8 months, I did not realize how much I would be amazed. This morning, she was sitting in her high chair eating an egg and she signed "strawberry" (or a close approximation of it). I pulled a strawberry out of the refrigerator, asked her if that's what she wanted and signed it back to her and her face lit up with a huge smile. That was exactly it! And she just learned "strawberry" a couple days ago! It thrills me that my 1-year-old actually has the tools to communicate some of her desires to me.

We only do a few signs, and they are mostly food signs, but so far Sierra has signed "more", "milk", "o's" (cheerios), "all done", "water" and "strawberry". Very cool.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Baby's first camping trip

We began our week+ in the Smoky Mountains at Hot Springs Campground in North Caroline with our friends Liz and Jeff, their 7-month-old daughter, Ellie, and Jeff's bro, Garrett.
Sierra loved Ellie and would try and give her hugs. It was really cute, but we had to make sure Sierra didn't squish Ellie in her attempts at baby love.
It was a bit of a whirlwind weekend.

We left Friday morning (about an hour later than we had hoped because it was raining. Boo.) When we got to Hot Springs in the late afternoon, it was still raining. (Boo!) Luckily, it didn't last, the rest of the weekend was lovely!

Saturday, we did some lounging at camp,

and then went to a Civil War reenactment that was at the campground.

That was actually pretty cool to watch. My sister does reenacting, but I haven't actually seen one in years!

Saturday afternoon, Liz and I left the little ones with their daddies and had some "baby free" time. Yay! We relaxed in a natural mineral bath. Well, supposedly the warm mineral water is natural, but they pump it across the river an into hot tubs. It was niiiiice ... and it gave Liz and I a chance to chat and catch up a little.

We had dinner and a campfire, and Sunday morning, we were all on our way again.

The rest of the photos from the weekend are here.
Civil War reenactment photos here.

Brace yourselves

Well, okay, you don't so much have to brace yourselves, but we had better brace ourselves. Yesterday, Sierra took more steps than probably all her other previous step put together. She was a walkin' fool!! Eight steps across the kitchen to get to the cookie I was offering her, seven or so in the living room to reach the ball her dad had, a few at time to go back and forth between the couch and the coffee table. A few more here and there to me, or Daddy, or Grandma Ginger and Grandpa Bob, who are visiting this week. Phew! And she's already at it again this morning. She was quick when crawling was her only mode of transportation, I have a feeling this next stage is going to be exhausting!! Her steps are still really just controlled falling, balancing until she can't hold it anymore, but it's only a matter of time ...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Photo editing ...

... takes a disgustingly long amount of time. Sigh. I don't know how my father-in-law does it. He takes about 4 times as many photos as I do. But, here's a taste.

Literally, Sierra's taste of chocolate cupcake! Mmmmm ...

P.S. Did you notice the teeth?! Third photo down.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Jiggity jig

We are home again, home again (jiggity jig). Sierra's first camping trip and first birthday totally rocked! I will be posting details from our week in the Smoky Mountains, so check back.

Is this what heaven looks like?

Um, I think yes.

Friday, June 12, 2009

We bring the rain. I

We bring the rain. I think that it has rained every time we've gone camping. Yesterday we avoided it at the mall. Today we'll take our chances.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Yesterday's hike up Mt. Le

Yesterday's hike up Mt. Le Conte was nothing short of amazing. 10 miles round trip past a gorgeous stream, thru Arch Rock and incredible views.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Away we go

Tomorrow morning, we are headed out for a 10-day camping trip in the Smoky Mountains. Yee haw!

I'll try the mobile blogging thing again, but don't expect to hear too much from the woods. Look for a recap on the 16th.

The botanist and the diaper

That title sounds like the title to some very strange book doesn't it? Well, I'm about to relate two seeminly unrelated things (and in the process, reveal my nerdiness).

1. I have a Masters degree in Botany
2. Sierra moved up from small to medium cloth diaper a couple days ago

With the new size, came a new cover, in a print called "jungle" that I had never seen before. As Sierra was crawling around in her diaper, I suddenly realized that I could identify one of the plants on her diaper cover. It was very clearly Monstera, a tropical plant with very distinct leaves. Scroll down in the link and check out the close up of the leaves. Then look at this:

See? That's clearly Monstera on my baby's bum! (and for the record, I'm way too excited that I identified a plant on my daughter's diaper)

A big step

Yes, it's a big step. Literally. And now, it's 6 big steps. Well, not so much steps as barely controlled falling, but still ... Sierra is walking!! Ack! How did this happen?! In just 6 short days, my (no longer) teensy baby is going to be the big 0-1. Sheesh! That flew by!

In the last two weeks Sierra has stood on her own for several seconds, took her first step, took six steps in a row, finally (praise be!) sprouted her first tooth, now a second tooth is visible. It's been a busy time around here. Also, I swear she said "hi" this morning when she waved at me.

Back dating

Just wanted to let you know that I have back dated several posts in the past week. I talked about some things during our trip to Illinois, so if you read this blog chronologically (rather than in a reader) you may have missed them. So, go on back and check out posts between May 17th and 25th.

Some things to check out:
Sierra gets into her 4-year-old cousin's "important stuff"
Adorable fun with Sierra and Colton (bonus totally cute 5-year-old ME!)
Happily ever after for Chris and Karen
Fun in a pint-sized rocking chair
My 11-month-old bad influence (bonus TRIPLE 1994 permed hair)

Monday, June 1, 2009

I'm going to kill a dog

I'm not 100% sure which one's life will end by my hand, but I'm pretty sure it's this one:
Okay, fine, I'm not really going to kill her, but for now, she is banished to the porch. I am livid.

Yesterday at church, Sierra had a poopy diaper. I didn't have my wetbag with me, so I just put it in a ziplock I had with me and stuck it in the diaper bag. Jason and left shortly after getting home so I forgot about it until this morning. When I went to retrieve the diaper, I found the diaper bag already open. The plastic bag with the poopy diaper was completely shredded and the inside of the diaper had been eaten out!! That was an $18 diaper and it is now totally useless!! AAAAAUUUUURRRRGH!!

(not to mention eating poop is completely disgusting. and unacceptable.)